Parliamentary Independence or Inefficiency?

After more than a month of political crisis following the controversial Presidential elections, a new political chaos is underway. Karzai after bargaining and meetings with his allies, announced the nominees for cabinet. Majority of them were heavily rejected on second slate of nominations. Parliament’s winter break was canceled for the reason to finalize the cabinet and set up a full functioning Government before the President leaves for London Conference. But now it seems things are going to the edge of nowhere.

What is going on? Nobody understands. The public is confused with a sudden wake-up of our MPs, who have to go again to people for vote soon in the coming Parliamentary elections, which is yet unknown if it will be conducted on time.  Nobody understands how a disorganized, divided, rubber-stamp and weak house of ragtags are reacting this unexpected? Members who were not seen once during the entire year in any session of the parliament were in line to vote for the cabinet nominations. The stories of bribery to MPs for buying up their votes is on every tongue across the country. They have spent too much for their campaigns. Now there must be some preparation for the next round. Many, who are assured of their fate in public, see this as the last chance, so all are trying their best!

The parliamentary elections are coming soon and MPs have to go back to public for votes. A parliament that during the last many years could only have a hot discussion on drafting a law to ban makeup, jeans, long hair and couples talking in public, is now overreacting to hide its inefficient performance during this term. They could only approve shameful drafts like the “Rape Law”—the so-called “Shiite Personal Status Law”—which allowed marital rape of women. Or we still remember how majority of MPs were getting emotional on the move against private TV channels broadcasting Indian serials. Taliban are not only the insurgents killing innocent civilians, but also those inside the parliament who tried to take the country back into a situation similar to the dark years of Taliban. “Taliban” is actually a term for all religious tugs and extremist fanatics, who can be anywhere, by any label. We have seen many live-broadcasting of punching-moments among MPs. We saw how shamefully a woman MP was beaten inside the parliament. Once there was a report that a journalist (cameraman), who had caught footage of an MP sleeping inside the parliament, was badly beaten.

I don’t see, at all, any single positive achievement of the parliament during this term. The Rape Law was blindly approved by majority. There could be no success on Media Law. Thanks to public awareness, media and civil society that reacted effectively and compelled the executive to quash and send back the draft of “Rape Law” for amendments.

Now this overreaction of rejecting cabinet members is to compensate the inefficiency of last many years. The apparent reasons are said to be standard, qualification and experience. The only cabinet nominee who had a Ph.D degree (In Urban Development), Sultan Hussain Hisari nominated for Ministry of Urban Development was heavily rejected. Some of those who were earlier called “inefficient repeated faces” got approved. Is this standard and criteria?

Besides the political behind-the-scenes game, the behavior of parliament is extremely shameful. There is not a recognized standard they are rejecting some of capable nominees, but rather for political reasons. It’s obvious that Afghanistan lacks capacity and high-qualified technocrats are very few, but rejection of, for instance, the only Ph.D nominee seem out of any logic and reason. How long will this cat and mouse game go on? Time is getting over so fast. The country is passing from a crucial time of decision-making on many issues.

There is not a running government at the moment. Many ministries are idle. The President seems to leave for London Conference before completing the cabinet. Though competence and qualification are mentioned as the reasons for rejection of cabinet nominees, but it’s more political rather than technical. Behind-the-scene game is being played by big-shots including the President himself. Ethnicity, regionalism, horse-trading and favoritism were the actual factors for a desperate parliament largely divided on important national issues to reject some of the very capable nominees.

Again, it’s curious how didn’t the President have a proper homework inside the Parliament to get his nominations approved for the second slate? Why each time some “special guys” are approved while some others, including the real capable, are rejected?

The long-term solution to the current crisis is amendments in electoral laws. The infamous Single Non-Transferable Voting (SNTV) has prevented the real spirit of democracy, emergence of political parties with agendas to go to public. At the beginning years of its establishment, Afghan Parliament needs strong foundations for political stability in a multi-ethnic country. Continuous rejection of cabinet members from particular ethnic minorities would take the country into deep future existential crisis. Nobody is bothering to be alarmed for the future fire-backs of current political crisis. It’s very obvious that some nominees, regardless of their political affiliations, from ethnic minorities are being rejected consecutively. It is urging a rebellion political mindset among the desperate people of the country. The irresponsible behavior of the parliament, besides its inefficiency, is raising questions on the so-called national unity in the minds of many.

1 Comment

Filed under Afghanistan Elections 2009

One response to “Parliamentary Independence or Inefficiency?

  1. And they call this joke/farce a parliament?

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